Career of John Geddes (IV)

"Services of Lieutenant General John Geddes, K.H." comes from a family document. The document starts off with a family tree, and goes on to describe the careers of Andrew David Geddes, John Geddes (IV) and John Geddes (V). The whole document was probably written by Emily Geddes, the wife of Andrew Geddes, but the part of Andrew Geddes career sometimes talks of Andrew Geddes in the third person, and sometimes says "I" instead, which suggests that Andrew Geddes contributed as well. The piece below may have been an obituary of John Geddes (IV) as it talks of "the deceased officer". The transcript below is a copy of a copy (if not more!) so the copyists may have made mistakes. Apologies for any of mine.

See 27th regiment in the Peninsular War.

Services of Lieutenant General John Geddes, K.H.

Lieutenant General John Geddes, K.H., Colonel of the 27th Regiment of Foot, died 28th April, 1864, at Edinburgh. The late General has been 60 years in Army and had seen plenty of Active Service.

He served with the 27th Regiment on Calabria in 1806, at the capture of the Island of Procida in 1809 and in Sicily in 1810. He subsequently proceeded with his regiment to the Peninsula and was present at the battles of Nivelle, the Nive, Orthes and Toulouse at which last he received a severe wound which broke the thighbone hear the hip-joint. He afterwards served with the Army of Occupation in France. He had received the War Medal and four clasps for his service in the Peninsula and was in 1836 made a Knight of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order.

The deceased officer went on half-pay in November 1831 and was appointed Colonel of the 27th Inniskilling Regiment in April 1860.

Military General Service Medal

This photo of the Military General Service Medal was taken from Wikipedia. The medal can be seen on the portrait of John Geddes (IV).

His Commissions bore date as follows:-

Ensign22nd December1804
Lieutenant25nd October1805
Captain1st December1818
Major22nd February1825
Lieutenant Colonel11th November1831
Colonel9th November1846
Major General20th June1856
Lieutenant General23rd March1861

Appointed Colonel 27th Inniskillings April 1860.

In fact, he was also appointed Colonel of 46th Foot a couple of months earlier! See below, London Gazette. In the family papers, there is a reference to someone writing a letter to Major Geddes in 1827, to be forwarded to address of 27th regiment in the West Indies.

From "An Eloquent Soldier" - the Peninsular War Journals of Liutenant Charles Crowe of the Inniskillings 1812-1814:"

[describing the Battle of Toulouse:] Easter Sunday, 10th April ... Captain Geddes was carried by, wounded in the thigh, which crippled him for life!

[after peace had been declared] 1 June... Geddes spoke French fluently,and being a very gentlemanly, quiet and good-looking fellow, got on well with all.

Wedding - from the Times, March 28, 1832

Marriage of John Geddes (IV)

From the London Gazette

John Geddes (IV) to Major John Geddes (IV) to Lt Colonel
John Geddes (IV) to Colonel of 46th Foot John Geddes (IV) to Colonel of 27th Foot

From the Times, Mar 5, 1860

Comment about John Geddes (IV)

Obituary - from the Times, May 2, 1864

Obituary of John Geddes (IV)

This letter is from John Geddes III to John Geddes IV, his son. It discusses what John Geddes should do after the end of the Napoleonic War. It is known that John Geddes IV was severely wounded at the Battle of Toulouse (which caused him to miss the Battle of Waterloo). So - should he retire on half-pay or continue on active service? 'Davie' is David Geddes, 'Adam' is Adam Gordan Geddes and Sandy is Alexander Geddes, all brothers of John Geddes IV.

4 Apr 1816 from John Geddes III, Edinburgh, addressed to Capt. John Geddes 1st Batt. 27th Foot, British Army near Cambray, France. By order DAG John Geddes. Recd 13th

My Dear John

Your letter of the 21 and 23 March I have received & with respect to the Circular regarding wounded Officers, I can give you no information. I saw it mentioned in the Papers about ten days ago, when I made every enquiry in my power but could learn nothing. From what I saw in the Papers, I would suppose that the wounded Officers, who have lost a limb, but still in good health, & fit to do duty, will hold their present situations, with their pensions, but that those who have fallen into bad health, in consequence of wounds, & not able for duty, will be put on half pay, but this is only conjecture, & before this reaches you, it is probable that the business will be arranged. You will see by the English Papers that Economy is the Order of the Day, & Peace is now established, they will have nothing further to do with Sailors or Soldiers, but permit them to go home & starve. If you had got the Brevet, or a Majority, I would not mind you being placed on half pay, but it would be unfortunate as you are situated.

Major Mill arrived here yesterday. I have not seen him yet, nor has Davie got his caricatures. Adam writes from London, that he has sent yours & Sandy's presents by Walter Andrews, who was to sail in a Day or two for Leith. I have not heard from Sandy for a great while, which I am surprised at as he has not much now to do.

The Reductions in every Department are beyond conception, it is said we are to have only one Majr. Genl. in this country!!!

Your mother has been complaining of Rhumatism for a few days, otherwise she contiues in tolerable health.

The 59th is reduced, & nothing for Davie, owing I presume, to the retrenching Mania now pursued; where will this end no Person can tell.

I wrote to you on the 16th ulto - Colonel Geddes left this about that time, & I fear must go to the [Cape?}. John Young sailed from Leith on Sunday last for Hamburgh. I have no News. Grain & Meat continue reasonable, & the landlords are lowering their rents in many cases 1/3. Many farms taken of late payable half money, & half grain fiers prices.

Your Mother & Davie joins me in Love my Dear John

Your Affectionate Father John Geddes

This letter is from John Geddes III to John Geddes IV, his son. 'Adam' is Adam Gordan Geddes and 'Davie' is David Geddes, all brothers of John Geddes IV. Another brother, Alexander (or Sandy) died in West Africa the previous year, which explains the father's worries about health abroad. John Geddes IV in fact did not sell out, or even retire on half pay, at this point - see above for details of his career.

21 Sept 1825 from his father, Minto Street, Newington, addressed to Major John Geddes 27th Foot, Newport, Isle of Wight. Recd. 25th.

My Dear John

I duly received your Letters of the 25th Ultimo & 14th Instant. I approve of your arrangement as the best you could make, circumstanced as you are, but if you are to retire, I think it will be more advantagious to you to sell out, than to retire on half pay, receiving the difference of 949, as the money will bring nearly as much Interest and the half pay, & you will have the command of the money for any other purpose that may cast up. If you go to the W. Indies, you should always be prepared to sell, or endeavour to come home as soon as you can. From your regular habits I have great hopes that you will keep your health, but at the same time I will rejoice to hear that you are on the way to Britain again, & in the meantime you will take every precaution for preserving your health. Adam will acquaint you that he is looking out for a farm, but hitherto unsuccessful. I have promised Adam a 1000, to stock a farm, & I suppose Davie will require as much in his new concern, & in that event you have all got an equal sum, only Adam, from his former mismanagement, will be considerably behind. I fear you will not be able to come to Edinburgh before you sail for the W. Indies, & if you are hurried, it will be fatiguing & expensive, & put you to much inconvenience, if you do.

My health has been better than usual for the last six months, but I fear the cold weather, which disagrees with my complaints. Nelly's mother is better, & I have engaged her again. I did not miss her so much as I expected during the good weather, but I fear the winter. I was in hopes that Major Hathcot would have been home long ago, but a man will not willingly part with a Lucrative Satff Situation as long as he can keep it. You was never so fortunate as to get one of these Offices.

I must again repeat my opinion, that I think it better for you to sell than to go upon half pay, with the difference, unless you could get a staff situation, which I suspect you have no chance of.

May God Bless you & believe me always, My Fear John

Your affectionate Father John Geddes